European shares extend rally, led by DAX
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, DAX up 1 pct
* BHP Billiton holds off on buyback; shares drop
* Earnings season close to end, 52 pct of firms meet/beat
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Tuesday, extending the previous session's rally, as investor concern over the conflict in Ukraine began to ease.
Germany's DAX - recently hit by the faceoff between Ukraine and Russia and concern that sanctions against Moscow could hurt Europe's biggest economy - outperformed on Tuesday, up 1 percent. The index has gained nearly 4 percent in the past 10 days but is still down 7 percent since mid-June.
At 0818 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,344.86 points. That followed a rise of 1.2 percent in the previous session and tracked solid gains on Wall Street, where the Nasdaq Composite closed at a 14-year high.
The FTSEurofirst 300 is still down 3.9 percent since mid-June.
In Ukraine, government forces reported new advances overnight, after a weekend breakthrough when troops raised the national flag in Luhansk, a city held by pro-Russian separatists since fighting began in April. Continuación...